There are two types of sunscreens, physical sunscreen, and chemical sunscreen. Use a physical sunscreen for the best protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

Physical sunscreen is the best because it works as a shield

Dr. Leslie Storey recommends a physical sunscreen that features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin. They sit on top of your skin, forming a barrier to protect you from the sun. This type of sunscreen is also better for sensitive skin, and the ingredients won’t burn or sting if accidentally coming in contact with your eyes.

  • Physical sunscreen sits on the surface of your skin, deflecting the sun’s rays
  • Look for the active ingredients of ZINC OXIDE or TITANIUM DIOXIDE
  • Opt for this sunscreen if you have SENSITIVE SKIN

Chemical sunscreen works like a sponge

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are made with ingredients that absorb UV rays to keep them from penetrating your skin. Some of the active ingredients in these sunscreens may irritate sensitive skin. On a positive note, these types of sunscreens tend to rub in easier and leave less white residue.

  • Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays
  • Some people prefer this type of sunscreen because it’s EASIER TO RUB INTO the skin without leaving a white residue
  • If you chose to use a chemical sunscreen, look for one or more of the following active ingredients:
    • OXYBENZONE
    • AVOBENZONE
    • OCTISALATE
    • OCTOCRYLENE
    • HOMOSALATE,
    • OCTINOXATE

Also, you might be interested to know that Hawaii has banned sunscreens with certain chemicals thought to damage coral reefs.

What to look for on the label

The American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) recommends choosing a sunscreen that states the following on the label:

  • WATER RESISTANT – While sunscreens can be “water resistant” (for 40 minutes) or “very water resistant” (for 80 minutes), sunscreens are not waterproof or sweatproof and need to be reapplied.
  • BROAD SPECTRUM – This means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays cause sunburn. Overexposure to both can lead to skin cancer.
  • SPF 30 OR HIGHER – This indicates how well a sunscreen protects you from sunburn.

How often to reapply

Every TWO HOURS, or after swimming or sweating. Some sunscreen is water resistant, but there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen.

If you have questions about how to protect your skin or choose a sunscreen, request an appointment with Dr. Storey or learn more at SpotSkinCancer.org.

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https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/say-yes-to-sun-protection